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Confederate spies. Leaving Memphis on December 20th, he entered the mouth of Yazoo River on December 26th, and landed at Johnson's farm, near the mouth of Chickasaw Bayou. From this point General Sherman expected an easy march to the defences of Vicksburg, about twelve miles distant. At that time there were no entrenchments except the immediate defences of the city, and at Snyder's Bluff, on the Yazoo, thirteen miles from the city. Says General Stephen D. Lee: "Not a spade of dirt had been thrown up along this entire line (Vicksburg to Snyder's Bluff), and there were no entrenchments, nor covered batteries."

On December 25th, the day on which Sherman arrived at the mouth of Yazoo River, and when his intentions became evident, General Martin L. Smith, commanding at Vicksburg, determined not to await an investment of the city, but to oppose the enemy in the field. He placed General Stephen D. Lee, recently promoted to that rank, in command of all the forces that could be spared from the city fortifications, and sent him to meet Sherman.

With the quick eye of military genius, Lee chose his ground. From Vicksburg the long line of bluffs, about two hundred feet in height, which skirts the Mississippi on the east, diverges from the river, and does not again reach it to the north until Memphis is reached. The bluffs leave Mississippi River about two miles above Vicksburg, and trend northeastward in a nearly straight line, touching Yazoo River about eighteen miles from its mouth and thirteen miles from Vicksburg, at a point named Snyder's Bluff called Haines's Bluff by the Federal officers. A triangle is thus formed, bounded by Yazoo River from its mouth to Snyder's Bluff, the line of bluffs from Snyder's Bluff to Vicksburg, and Mississippi River from Vicksburg to the mouth of the Yazoo. Snyder's Bluff was fortified, and its heavy guns commanded the navigation of the Yazoo at that point. The triangle above mentioned is low and flat, and subject to overflow. It is intersected by bayous and almost made of lakes and swamps.


From the point where Sherman landed it was necessary, in order to reach Vicksburg, to cross this low land and then to ascend the bluffs. Lee rapidly distributed his small force along the line of battle, twelve miles in length, from Vicksburg to Snyder's Bluff, and hastily constructed defences to command the few narrow passes of dry land which afforded the only practicable routes to Vicksburg, and to strengthen the natural barrier of the bluffs. The widest crossing on dry land, and the best route to Vicksburg, was along Chickasaw Bayou, which ran from Yazoo River to the foot of the bluffs at the centre of the Confederate line of battle, about six and a half miles from the city.

Skirmishing began on the 26th and continued during the 27th, by which time General Sherman had developed his lines and had sent the gunboats to assail Snyder's Bluff. On the 28th, he pressed his line forward, and some severe fighting occurred. Having brought his guns into position, he prepared to make a vigorous assault the next day on the Confederate lines posted on the bluff. During all this time he had been held in check by a small force of 3,000 men commanded by General Lee.

On December 29th Sherman moved to the main assault his four divisions, commanded respectively by General A. J. Smith, General Morgan L. Smith, General G. W. Morgan, and General Frederick Steele. The main attack was made on the Confederate centre at Chickasaw Bayou, where General Lee was present in person, and a strong assault was also made near a place called "The Mound," about four miles from Vicksburg. The fighting began at noon and ended about four o'clock. The Federals were repulsed along the entire line, with the most severe loss in front of Chickasaw Bayou.

General Lee had received a reinforcement of two regiments on the 28th. More began coming in on the 29th and 30th. These reinforcements came from Van Dorn's army, now relieved from pressure by Grant's retreat. The entire force engaged on the Confederate side was fifteen

regiments and four batteries, not exceeding 8,000 men. A large portion of these did not arrive in time to bear the brunt of the battle. Sherman had at hand 32,000 men, with a fleet of gunboats. The strategy of the Confederates rendered the gunboats practically useless and foiled the largely superior land force. General Sherman's loss was 191 killed, 982 wounded, 756 missing; total, 1,929. The entire Confederate loss was 63 killed, 134 wounded, 10 missing; total, 207.

General Sherman remained a few days in camp. Some desultory skirmishing ensued and an expedition was planned against Snyder's Bluff, but was subsequently abandoned. On January 2, 1863, Sherman reëmbarked and steamed to the mouth of the Yazoo. There General John A. McClernand arrived and assumed command under orders from the government at Washington. Thus ended the second attack on Vicksburg. It would be difficult to cite a feat of arms more decisive and brilliant than the bloody and signal repulse of this formidable expedition.



THE Confederate trans-Mississippi campaign of 1862 was a series of mistakes; it was characterized by disorder, confusion, and demoralization. Desultory expeditions and crushing defeats destroyed the confidence of the people, and left Arkansas and Missouri in the hands of the Federals to an extent that would have been deemed impossible at the beginning of the year. There were few important movements, and they were as a rule unsuccessful. Repeated changes in commanding officers tended to the destruction of discipline among the troops, and the results were disastrous to the Confederacy. The trans-Mississippi District was organized January 10, 1862, under command of Majorgeneral Earl Van Dorn, who assumed command on the 29th of the same month. On the 3d of February there was a call for 71,000 men from the State of Missouri for the Confederate service. On February 15th, Brigadiergeneral John M. Schofield assumed command of the Federal forces in the district of St. Louis, and on the 23d, Brigadiergeneral John Pope assumed command of the Army of the Mississippi assembling at Commerce, Missouri. Skirmishes were of almost daily occurrence throughout Missouri, but the movements were unimportant as a whole until General Van Dorn tried to beat the enemy at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and a series of accidents and a badly disciplined army defeated his intentions.

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